By Jay Betsill
The weekend at the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club was one that will not soon be forgotten due to the off-the-course drama that included the false missile alert that was accidentally sent out to everyone in the area and the union labor dispute that saw the video and audio productions staff walk off the Golf Chanel telecast of the final round of the tournament.
Due to the labor strife, the PGA Tour moved up the start times to attempt to get the action finished sooner, but the golfers had other ideas as Patton Kizzire and James Hahn finished tied at 17-under to extend the event to a sudden death playoff. The playoff would go six holes to be the longest playoff in the 53-year history of the Sony Open in Hawaii and the longest on the PGA Tour since 2013.
Kizzire also won the OHL Classic in Mexico earlier this season to become the first two-time winner on the wraparound PGA Tour season. His final round 68 that included a chip-in eagle on No. 10 got him into the playoff that he would eventually win.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Kizzire said. “I’ll take it any way I can get it.”
Kizzire won $1.116 million for being the Sony Open in Hawaii champion.
Hahn’s two previous PGA Tour wins had come in playoffs and he missed a putt to win the event on the first hole as well as a putt to stay alive on the sixth hole. This all came on the heels of a final round 62 that got him into the playoff.
As for the telecast of the tournament, the Golf Channel scrambled to have enough cameras to show limited coverage that essentially included the final few holes with very few angles that included tower shots and the view from the blimp. The commentary came from the three Golf Central announcers in the network’s studio in Orlando.
Former TCU Horned Frogs golfer Tom Hoge began the final round with the lead and was in contention until a double bogey on No. 16. He still had a chance to get in the playoff with a birdie on No. 18, but his putt rolled by the edge of the cup.
Notables in the field included defending champion Justin Thomas (-12, T14), Zach Johnson (-12, T14), Jordan Spieth (-11, T18), Colonial champion Kevin Kisner (-10, T25) and Xander Schauffelle (-9, T32).
Next week on the PGA Tour is the CareerBuilder Challenge at the PGA West Stadium Course. Big names in the field include Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, John Daly, Adam Hadwin, Jason Dufner, Brian Harman, Zach Johnson, Corey Pavin, Patrick Reed and defending champion Hudson Swafford.